You've probably been seeing the DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize feature circulating online and prompting you to vote for one designer or the other. If you're wondering whether you should vote or not, we'll break it down for you.
Why you should vote.
Local fashion talent in the region, namely Lebanon, has produced big names that have established global recognition. We're talking about those who have become household names and you know them very well: Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Rabih Kayrouz...to name a few. We pride ourselves in them immensely, and they've put Lebanon on the map for incredibly talented haute couture designers.
Having said that, those names started as early as two decades ago and a time when there was no local or regional support to help them grow. They truly had to carve out their own paths, and luckily enough the market allowed for that. But today we are in a different landscape. A more competitive one, but also one where we see the bourgeoning of young local talent who want to carve out different paths by focusing solely on ready-to-wear designs, jewelry and accessories, and even shoes.
This is all happening at a time where the region is recognizing the need to support local talent and they are actually doing something about it. In Lebanon we've got platforms like Creative Space Beirut and Starch Foundation that are helping young fashion designers study, learn and launch in the market. In Dubai you've got the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) and the Dubai Design District (D3) that are officially supported by the government to help local talent grow and prosper.
It's a real opportunity to help young fashion designers get a strong foothold in region, and hopefully internationally afterwards. Supporting local fashion talent means that we help drive the interest in shopping local and in turn driving our economies.
The DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize
The DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize an annual endowment granted to the most promising fashion and accessories design talents in the Arab world. The initiative is happening in partnership with Farfetch, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms globally.
There are 10 finalists that you can vote for right now. Two of those finalists will be the prize winners, one in the women’s ready-to-wear category and the other in accessory design. They will both collectively win an award valued at $250,000.
The prize includes a production grant; obtain retail opportunities to sell their collections exclusively on Farfetch.com as well as its international partner boutiques including Browns (London), Curve (USA), and Al Ostoura (Kuwait); mentorship; press coverage; and an advertising campaign to support the retail launch (read full info). That's HUGE.
VOTE AND HELP PUT OUR YOUNG FASHION TALENT ON THE MAP.
Here are three of our very own Beirut-Based women's ready-to-wear and accessory finalists.
Mira Hayek is a Women's ready-to-wear finalist. We personally love Mira's work so much, and if you follow our work you'll see that we've featured her many times. Her collections are inspired by statement sportswear pieces that you can wear every day.
Karoline Lang is a Women's ready-to-wear finalist. Karine Tawil is the Lebanese designer behind the label. Her designs are super pretty and feminine, we have yet to wear one of her pieces but we were lucky enough to shoot Bucolik founder Nour in one of her designs below. Karoline Lang is for the independent and international woman, and we love it.
Ralph Masri is an accessory design finalist. Ralph is one of our local young jewelry designers, and you if you don't already know him, you may have seen his store in Mar Mikhael right next to Pruce and Acote. His pieces are super classy, sophisticated, and are definitely statement makers. His most recent collection (featured below) was inspired by the letters of the ancient Phoenician alphabet - the oldest form of the alphabet.